Biography

Jonathan Sell is a bass player who is active in a wide range of styles, including Jazz, Rock and Blues as well as Arabic Maqam and Indian Raga. Because the world of music is just too diverse and rich, he does not want to limit himself to one specific style of music. As a result, he changes styles like a chameleon and creates a global musical aesthetic out of their entirety.

Jonathan has been drawn to the Bass and its power and warmth from very early on. He prefers a rich, wooden sound on the double bass, while his electric bass is very much influenced by his love for the 60s Fender Precision Bass.

Jonathan`s idea of his role as a bassist, as a connector and supporter, goes beyond its musical meaning: His intercultural projects have worked together for many years and value friendship and creating an artistic vision together above all else. The intensive connection to other musicians and regular trips to their home countries have made those once foreign cultures part of Jonathan`s identity.

In his global musical vision the special characteristics of all musical cultures are taken seriously. The unique musical trademarks of the oriental music tradition, like microtonality, richness of individual interpretation and rhythm diversity, and those of the western musical tradition, like polyphony, counterpoint and jazz improvisation, fuse into a new entity.

There have already been incredible opportunities for Jonathan to accomplish this vision: for example at the Royal Opera House / Muskat, at Festival International de Hammamet / Tunis, at Subah e Benares Stage Assi Ghat / Varanasi and at Nationaltheater Mannheim / Musiksalon Welt, where his group Haz‘art Trio was Artist in Residency in 2019.

In July 2017 Jonathan finished his master studies of jazz-double-bass and electric bass with Prof. Thomas Stabenow and Prof. Dave King in Mannheim with distinction. He is a member of the Oriental Music Academy Mannheim, where he commits himself to cultural exchange through music.

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Teaching : oriental bass

It’s a challenge to try and approach the rich oriental music culture with a western instrument like the double bass or the electric bass. It’s also one of the most fascinating opportunities to evolve as a bassist. While western music strongly focusses on harmony, oriental music seems to favor melody and rhythm, which opens a whole new range of possibilities for the bass.

The microtonal subtleties of the oriental sound systems expand the ways for western musicians, especially for bassists, to express themselves. Four different music cultures are part of the curriculum: maqam – Arabic, makam – Turkish, dastgah – Persian and raga – Indian.

The term „Oriental Bass“ then refers to a learning process: first we play classical oriental melodies on the bass and get acquainted with the oriental
pitch space. The next step is to learn how bass players can improvise and compose their own counterpoint basslines to the oriental pieces. The process of expanding the western harmonic system by adding those microtones will expand your musical and personal horizon.

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